November 20th, 2008
11:50 AM ET
5 years ago

Obama transition team to meet with defense secretary

Gates will meet with President-elect Obama's transition team Thursday.
Gates will meet with President-elect Obama's transition team Thursday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Defense Secretary Robert Gates has long said he wants to ensure a smooth transition at the Pentagon with the Obama administration, but it may be a while before some of the big secrets are revealed to the new team.

Gates will have his first substantive meeting with members of President-elect Barack Obama's transition team Thursday to discuss key issues the new administration will face as it comes into office.

But CNN has learned that the Obama transition team will not immediately be provided classified information on current military operations and plans, certain National Security Council matters, intelligence programs and future DOD budget plans for the time being, under the terms of a memo sent to senior DOD officials by Gates' top aide.

CNN has obtained a copy of the three-page memo, sent to all top department civilian and military officials November 19 by aide Robert Rangel.

It outlines what can and cannot be shared at this point with Obama's transition staff.

According to the memo, until there is "further guidance," there will be no disclosure of "sensitive information" in the following categories: "current military operations; special access programs; pre-decisional budget information; contingency operations/plans; personnel records; privileged and other legally protected information; competition sensitive information; and active National Security Council policy deliberations."

Other classified information can only be provided to transition team members who have appropriate security clearances. CNN has confirmed that at least six of the Obama transition officials have been granted interim security clearances that give them access to so-called "sensitive compartmented information."

SCI clearances are one of the highest levels of clearances in order to control access to especially sensitive information.

Meanwhile, there is still no word on whether Gates is being asked to stay on the job by the president-elect or whether he would stay if asked.

soundoff (82 Responses)
  1. Griff

    Every Countries "Top Defence", Is "Private Business. It belong's to the Private Companies, and their Share Holders.... Not any Government.... So Why Obama?????????????

    November 20, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  2. Old Colonel

    Fire Secretary Gates and the President's entire staff of military lap dogs. Beg the proven warrior General (ret) Eric Shinsecki to become Sec Def – he tells the truth.

    November 20, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  3. PDX Gal

    chuckles199 you really are a moron. Biden was disqualified for asthma. But Cheney wasn't.

    And STILL found a way to serve his country.

    November 20, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  4. rice, bryan

    look here dimwits, 9/11 happened on g.w.'s watch. a 9/11 commision settled that. we elected a baboon 8 years ago, that has lied numerous times, and yet you keep thinking that these are the best of times. i served my time in the service, and under bill clinton the military did not starve or go without. government contracts were just as bloated as they are now. the military went down hill during veitnam, it may have started with kennedy, but it ended under nixon. remember nixon was not a crook. if i remember right it was cheaney that leaked the name of a cia agent, cheaney is republican right? if the military had secrets to keep from anyone it would be bush right, you can't trust a chimp with a secret. limbaugh failed to brain wash america, but to those of you who can't tie your shoes without the incredible insight of limbaugh, keep listening to him you are in an ever shrinking crowd.

    November 20, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  5. Support and Defend the Constitution

    "tell Gates if he has reason to not talk to individuals in the Obama team with him to spell out the reasons right then and there."

    The reason is that unless the transition team members have adjudicated clearances granting access to SCI, Gates could go to jail for disclosing SCI material. The Bush team actually fast-tracked security investigations for Obama's people.

    Chuckles... Check your facts. Gates did not dodge the draft. He went into CIA out of college, was drafted into the Air Force while in CIA and returned to Langley after he finished his service.

    November 20, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  6. Scott NYC Independent

    I'm sure there is much to hide and Gates has to determine if there will be criminal charges brought when the illegal activities are revealed.

    November 20, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  7. GA for Obama

    redneck- how do you plan on forcing your views on Obama (i.e. make him gut our military)? you DO know Obama's TS will be a REPUBLICAN, his DS will be a REPUBLICAN, his ENVIRONMENTAL SECRETARY WILL BE A REPUBLICAN, his natl security advisory team is made up of REPUBLICANS

    so, next time you compare Clinton's or Carter's record on defense, THINK TWICE

    REPUBLICANS WILL RUN DEFENSE IN AN Obama Administration

    Godspeed, President-elect!

    November 20, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
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